Albert at Whisk
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Review: Whisk

TREATS:  3 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

Last week, the Lady and I ventured out on a quest. Sadly, it was not a quest to get me more bully sticks but rather to find a springform pan. I had no idea what that was, but the Lady said that it was a special kind of cake pan She wants to use for our friend Lili’s Tres Leches cake challenge. She had such a pan many years ago but jettisoned it along with other baking supplies when She moved to a tiny New York kitchen. But bit by bit, some of these baking tools have crept back into our kitchen.

Whisk exterior

Our mission took us to Whisk, a kitchenware shop in the Flatiron District, just a block away from Madison Square Park. Upon entering, we were greeted by a friendly Whisk human who asked the Lady if I would like a treat. Impressed with this prompt service, I immediately sat, ready for a biscuit. Then the Lady pulled a trick so dastardly I could hardly believe what I was hearing.

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Albert the Dog at JackRabbit
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Review: JackRabbit Sports

TREATS:  N/A

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

run

 

My People and I have different notions of what “running” means. The Lady’s concept of running is going straight from point A to point B without stopping to look at or smell anything. I don’t think She truly enjoys running, but it is exercise, and it is free, so She does it now and then.

In the early days of our relationship, I used to try to accompany Her, thinking that maybe I could teach her to enjoy running more. Unfortunately, she did not go fast enough for me and proved unable to adapt to my program: Continue reading

Albert the Dog at C.O. Bigelow
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Review: C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries

TREATS:  3 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

Sometimes it seems as if every corner in Manhattan has a Duane Reade. Duane Reade, for you non-New Yorkers, is a drugstore founded in 1960 in Lower Manhattan on Broadway between Duane Street and Reade Street. When I say “drugstore,” humans outside the U.S. may picture a small shop like a pharmacy that fills prescriptions and sells pills and potions to treat human ailments. However, Duane Reade has grown into something much more than that, a pharmacy-cum-convenience store, with grocery items, magazines, wine and beer, sports socks, laundry detergent, candy, pens and notebooks, and, in some locations, even ready-to-eat food like prepared sandwiches.

According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, those food and grocery items mean that only service animals are allowed inside. Thus, Duane Reade must forever remain a realm of mystery to me.

Bigelow window

The most dapper reindeer in town.

Fortunately for me, there is C.O. Bigelow, an apothecary founded in 1838 (although it didn’t get the name “Bigelow” until 1880). I have visited this Greenwich Village institution a few times now and have always received a gregarious welcome from the Bigelow humans, who keep a stash of treats behind the counter for canine customers. Continue reading

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Review: bookbook

TREATS:  3 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

As a dog, my feelings about books are mixed. As I see it, they have the potential to distract humans from things they should be doing: paying attention to me, playing with me, or giving me treats. But the other day I realized that reading, as long as the book is small and lightweight, still leaves my People a hand free to scratch my ears. Thus, I have decided that book-reading trumps other human pastimes such as playing video games, knitting, or going to spinning classes.

Moreover, when my People need to get a book, they tend to go to an actual bookstore, which gives me the opportunity to accompany them, explore the city, and, if I’m lucky, sample some treats. Although I am told New York does not have as many bookstores as it once had, the ones that remain by and large tend to welcome well-mannered dogs.

treattreat

treattreat

Last weekend, the Lady and I ducked out of the rain to browse the shelves at bookbook, an independent bookstore in Greenwich Village.

The store used to be called Biography Books and was located further west on Bleecker Street, but the owners had to move after 26 years due to rising rents. That all happened before I came to New York, so I never had the chance to smell the store in its Biography days. Personally, I can’t imagine a better location than their current address, where the air is perfumed with the delicious scents of the neighboring Murray’s Cheese, Faicco’s Italian Specialties, and Amy’s Bread.

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Albert the Dog at the Salty Paw
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Review: The Salty Paw

TREATS:  4 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  3 out of 4

Two years ago, when Hurricane Sandy landed on the Eastern Seaboard, the South Street Seaport area was one of those most badly hit. It’s still recovering, but a lot of the businesses have been back up and running for over a year now. We dogs can be thankful that among those is The Salty Paw, which the Lady and I visited last weekend.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a cheerful Salty Paw human, who asked if we were there for a grooming appointment. I began to tremble as it occurred to me that perhaps the Lady had lured me here for a surprise bath or one of the grooming spa’s famous color treatments. (I’m not sure what to think about those, by the way. I suppose some dogs are delighted to strut their hot pink stuff, but in my case, I feel that it would be gilding the lily. Don’t you agree?)

Thankfully, the Lady explained that we were there merely to browse (and secretly gather material for my review, of course). I was graciously offered an amuse-bouche and invited to peruse the wares. And it was then that I discovered what distinguishes this cozy shop from its pet-supply competition.

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Albert’s Holiday Gift Guide

Albert the Dog with Gifts

I am here to guide you.

There are far too many gift guides out there already, so why, pray tell, do I feel the need to offer one here? No good reason, I’m afraid, but I can’t resist sharing my dog and/or New York-related choices with you. I can promise you that my People and I get no financial reward from my recommendations, and I have checked out almost all of these products myself. As such, you’ll see that some of these might be better for small dogs like me than for the big guys. Of course, many of these are for the dog-loving humans you know. Continue reading

Albert the Dog at Bottlerocket Wine, NYC
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Review: Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit

TREATS:  4 out of 4

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  4 out of 4

Last week, the Lady and I paid a visit to Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, a shop that sells wine, a/k/a fermented grape juice, which for some unfathomable reason many humans enjoy drinking. Grapes are toxic for dogs, so I steer clear of them even in their recognizable form, let alone after they’ve been mashed up and lying around in a barrel for years. But I gave up trying to understand human peculiarities long ago.

Besides, I don’t mind if a shop is selling mashed-up grapes when it’s such a welcoming place for little old me to visit.

The purple beacon of pet-friendliness.

The purple beacon of pet-friendliness.

Bottlerocket is an easy walk from two dog runs (Madison Square Park and Union Square), so we dogs can get a little off-leash running and socializing before our people stock up on wine and other adult beverages like fancy bourbon and gin.

Upon entering, I was immediately and warmly greeted by some Bottlerocket humans, who appear to be selected primarily for their willingness to play with dogs. The Lady assumes they are also required to have some knowledge of wine and retail skills, but She and I are fairly certain the first question on the employment application is, “Why and to what extent do you love dogs? Please respond using specific reasons and examples.”

Near the entrance was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen:

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Albert the Dog in Central Park NYC
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Review: Eastern Mountain Sports [updated]

TREATS:  1 out of 4 (supposedly)

BELLY-RUB POTENTIAL:  2 out of 4

Unlike their main competitor, REI, Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) sometimes allows dogs in their stores.*  It may surprise some of my readers who think of New York as a Hellscape land of skyscrapers and asphalt to learn that the city even has an EMS store, let alone two (one in Soho and one on the Upper West Side). But even we city dogs like to explore the great outdoors, whether within city limits or in nearby areas. And when we do, we and our People need the right gear.

I was doing just that kind of urban exploring one afternoon last week in Central Park. The day was beautiful, crisp, and sunny, and the Bridle Path was just muddy enough for me to kick up satisfying clumps of dirt. A host of intriguing odors greeted me as we meandered through the park—not just dog pee, but decaying leaves, damp grass, horse manure, and the recently deposited sweat of more than fifty thousand marathoners. My friends, it was a delicious afternoon.  After a long romp, the Lady and I finally headed west to EMS in order to peruse their wares.

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